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November 08, 2000

Nader and Others

While Nader did not make a sufficient showing to win Federal funds for the Green Party (I think enough people bought the line that it would be their fault if Gore lost and voted for Gore instead of Nader) I think it is indicative of a small shift away from the two-party system that we have had signficant candidates who were not Democrats or Republicans in the last decade.

Third parties continue to perform the function of forcing the Old Parties to recognize factions of their constituency that they'd rather just take for granted. The typical order of business is for the Old Party to promise the interloper some concessions in the Party Platform, thus allowing the disenfranchised to have their voices heard.

However, in the last few elections, the Democrats have moved closer to the Republicans on lots of issues which impact citizens' everyday lives. I don't know if I'm willing to speculate that the Republicans have moved closer to the middle, what with the occasional pull by Newt Gingrich and Pat Buchanan. The overall effect, however, is that some have the perception that the parties now offer insufficient differentiation.

More elections have gone by with a third party actually running, not to shovel a few concessions down an Old Party throat, but to achieve legitimacy for their own goals. Appearing on ballots as a peer, receiving Federal funding, in other words, becoming a real national alternative.

I don't think this will happen any time soon, but I do believe that there is a gradual shift coming about, where a small but growing segment of the population no longer believes that they must vote for solely Old Party candidates. As this trend grows, we'll see more examples of an Old Party candidate whining about having "his" votes stolen by an interloper. This is the cry of the dinosaur, watching the small but swift mammal out-evolve him.

Posted by dpwakefield at November 8, 2000 08:26 AM